Penguin Bar side 2
Penguin Bar inside

You know life is good when it’s Friday night and you can hole up in a bar with some friends to enjoy a relaxing drink or two (or three or four). But you know what may be even better? How about being holed up in a bar where you can watch cute sea animals while having a drink? It turns out there’s a bar where you can do exactly that – right in the middle of Tokyo!

Yes, the recently opened Penguin no Iru Bar (literally, “the bar where there are penguins”) lives up to its name by actually being home to live penguins that customers can view right in the bar. Wow, real live penguins at a bar? We definitely had to go see this ourselves, since it’s no big secret that we’re quite fond of penguins here at RocketNews24. So, what exactly was this unique penguin bar like?

The bar was about an eight-minute walk from Ikebukuro station, and as we drew closer to the location, we have to admit, we were quite excited at the prospect of coming face to face with the establishment’s black-and-white aquatic residents.

With great anticipation, we approached the bar with its penguin logo, taking a look from the front …

Penguin Bar front 1
Penguin Bar front 2
… and from the side
Penguin Bar side 1
Penguin Bar side 3
▼The sign and menu displayed in front
Penguin Bar Sign
Penguin Bar menu

We arrived a little before 9 p.m. on a Friday night, and there was a bit of a wait, but not too long, maybe about 10 minutes. The bar, with seating for 45 — including counter seats, sofa-type seats, regular round-table seating and even a small private room — looked to be a nice size, not so large that it wasn’t cozy and not too small that you felt cramped.

The menu seemed to be what you would expect to find in a  typical Japanese bar, with all the regulars like cocktails, beer, whiskey, brandy, shochu and sake available. The food selection included standard bar fare like fries and sausages but some tasty-looking seafood items such as grilled lobster, abalone, steamed clams and mussels were also on the menu.

We quickly ordered drinks and food, but to tell the truth, we were really anxious to see the penguins — that’s what we went there for, after all. And there they were, in a glass-encased aquarium-like area at the back of the bar! We were delighted to finally see them.

▼It looked like the penguins have a good-sized area to walk around and swim
Penguin Bar far shot
Penguin Bar two  1
Penguin Bar two 2
Penguin Bar two 3
▼There are currently four penguins at this bar and it was great to see all of them together
Penguin Bar all four
▼Here’s also a short video that we took of the cute little fellas.

According to the information on the bar website, the aim was to create a place of relaxation in the middle of Tokyo where people can be comforted by viewing the penguins. Also, because penguin couples are known for staying together and cooperating to rear their young, it’s hoped the bar will be considered a lucky venue for wedding and anniversary parties.

Oh, and here are some of the food and drinks that arrived while we were busy observing the penguins.

▼I had a frozen mango daiquiri (approx. US$12) to drink, which was delightfully cool and refreshing
Penguin Bar mango daiquiri
▼Even the coasters had cute penguins on them!
Penguin Bar coaster
▼The mirror at the bar counter with a beautiful penguin illustration
Penguin Bar mirror

All in all, we had a grand time at “the bar where there are penguins”. The food, while maybe not of Michelin-star quality, was certainly decent, and the general atmosphere was pleasant and not too noisy. It was also amusing that none other than the movie March of the Penguins was playing on the TV monitor in the middle of the bar.

Of course, the best part is without question, the penguins. It’s amazing how they can make you smile just by simply standing there. We didn’t have a chance to see them swim in the water while we were at the bar this time, but we can easily imagine how cool it would be if you could see them in action underwater.

If you love penguins, or any animals at all, you’re bound to get a thrill out of being close to the cute little critters, and that, along with a few nice drinks will probably do wonders for your state of mind. Happy penguin watching!